Six Dead and Hundreds Injured After Amtrak Train Derails
According to CNN, on Tuesday, May 12, an Amtrak train left Washington with 238 passengers and five crew members aboard, heading for New York. Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 never made it to its destination and devastatingly derailed at about 9:30 p.m. in Philadelphia. Now, many are fighting to stay alive, while others mourn the loss of their loved ones as the entire community struggles to understand why this train suddenly derailed, sending cars and passengers flying.
The shocking crash reportedly killed six people, including a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman heading home on leave. Hospitals have thus far treated more than 200 people involved in the crash and about half of them have been released. At least eight people remain in critical care at Temple University Hospital, the closest trauma center. Many passengers were apparently injured when objects or other passengers fell on them. The train conductor is among the injured and rescue officials are still searching for victims at the crash site. Some remain unaccounted for, raising the possibility of more injuries or casualties.
Questions Surround the Accident
The derailment is among the most severe in history, with all seven cars and the engine derailing. Some are calling it a miracle that so many escaped unscathed. Passengers are retelling harrowing tales of escaping from the overturned and derailed train cars. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that at the scene of the horrific incident, the engine and two cars were actually standing upright, while three cars were tipped to the sides, and one was almost completely flipped over, nearly onto its roof. The last car was severely leaning to the side.
Several investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on site early the next morning. The recorder, or "black box," was recovered but much work must still be done. Authorities intend to examine the condition of the track, whether signals were functioning, and if human performance played a role in the accident.
Speed is among the possible factors contributing to the crash. Given the damage and angles of the wreckage, it is being speculated that speed was a factor. The speed limit in the crash zone was 50 miles per hour and preliminary data suggests that the train exceeded 100 miles per hour prior to derailment.
The area of the crash site was also the site to one of the deadliest train accidents in history, a crash in 1943 that killed 79 people. Although Amtrak is a reputable company that safely transports thousands of passengers daily, this recent accident was the ninth Amtrak train derailment this year, leading many safety experts to question the impact of the nation's aging rail infrastructure.
As the investigation and rescue efforts continue, it is our hope that those injured make a speedy recovery and the true cause of the accident is uncovered so that future tragedies such as this one can be prevented. As further information as to liability regarding the crash emerges, it is likely several claims will be filed against the party responsible for this horrifying and catastrophic accident.
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